Mental health and substance abuse forum to find better treatment solutions

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The Waccamaw Mental Health Center is holding a forum to discuss ways to improve treatment and mental health and substance abuse victims.


The director, Ethel Bellamy, said these community forums have been helpful in finding solutions for patients. One result was the creation of a mental health court for criminal activity, to help people from committing the same crime. She said this is way to help patients understand the consequences of their actions, while also receiving the proper care.

“We want to help people become compliant with treatment, so they can be able to maintain themselves in order to stay out of the county detention center,” said Bellamy. 

Former victim of substance abuse, Ashley Siwecki, said these forums are a positive step in the right direction, because sometimes people want to avoid talking about the issue of mental health and drug abuse. She said she had the hardest part of it all was understanding the mental illness was real.

“I didn’t understand the fact that I had a mental illness,” said Siwecki. “Drug addiction and alcoholism is a mental illness, and once I finally accepted that, things became a bit easier, and I was presented with a solution to my problem.”

The forum is at the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Conway from 10-11:30 a.m today.